STILLWATER, Oklahoma -- Senior Alice Chen (+1) scored an opening round 73 to tie for 19th Friday in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Championships at the par-72, 6,328 yard Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla. The seventh-ranked Paladins (+24) are tied for 20th.
Chen, a native of Princeton, N.J., who was honored with the 2018 Dinah Shore Trophy on Friday morning, started on No. 10 and scored birdies on No. 13 and No. 16 to turn at one-over. She birdied her final hole, No. 9, for a team-high three birdies, to finish the day eight strokes back of leader Jennifer Kupcho (-7) of Wake Forest, who tied the course record with an opening round 65.
Senior Reona Hirai (+6), the 2018 SoCon individual medalist, is tied for 76th after carding a 78 in round one, and sophomore Natalie Srinivasan (+7), the 2018 SoCon Player of the Year, is tied for 88th after tallying a 79 with a stellar birdie on No. 5 in Friday's round. Senior Jacqueline Bendrick (+10) scored an 82 in round one to tie for 111th, and junior Haylee Harford (+11) birdied No. 18 for an opening-round 83, tying for 119th.
No team was under par for the day, as sixth-ranked Southern California (+3) led the field with a 291. Top-ranked Alabama (+4) is one stroke back in second, and No. 3 UCLA (+6) sits in third. No. 16 Kent State (+8) enters the second round in fourth place, followed by fourth-ranked Duke (+10) in fifth.
The Paladins, who will tee off of No. 1 Saturday at 8:36 a.m. CT, are part of a 24-team field which is playing under the NCAA Championship's revised format, which was instituted in 2015. The teams will play 54 holes of stroke play over the course of three days, beginning Friday and continuing through Sunday. The top 15 teams will then play one additional round of stroke play on Monday, May 21. The top eight teams at the end of Monday's round will move into the match-play single elimination bracket. Tuesday will feature the quarterfinals and semifinals, and the finals will be played Wednesday afternoon.
Furman, which secured the Southern Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by capturing its 17th SoCon Championship last month at Moss Creek Country Club on Hilton Head Island, S.C., finished third last week at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional to earn a berth at the NCAA Championship. The Paladins finished 12th at least season's NCAA Championship in Sugar Grove, Ill.
Live scoring of the NCAA Championships will be available at www.golfstat.com or by logging onto www.furmanpaladins.com. The Golf Channel will provide unprecedented prime time coverage of the NCAA Women's Golf Championships. Twelve and a half hours of live event programming will be shown starting on Monday, May 21, and concluding with the match play finals on Wednesday afternoon.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
20 Furman 312 +24
T19 Alice Chen 73 +1
T76 Reona Hirai 78 +6
T88 Natalie Srinivasan 79 +7
T111 Jacqueline Bendrick 82 +10
T119 Haylee Harford 83 +11